BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington residents can weigh in later this week on a state plan to include bike lanes along significant portions of Illinois 9/Empire Street and the related removal of on-street parking in some areas.
The city will hold a public hearing from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to gather public input.
"To be very clear, this is a state project; it's an IDOT project," said City Manager Tim Gleason at the City Council's meeting Monday. "But what they are requesting from us is concurrence, as a city, on their state route that goes through our community."
Based on Illinois Department of Transportation's preliminary plan and aerial information, the city estimates 17,850 feet of additional bike lanes and a net loss of 226 parking spaces, city officials said in a statement.
"There are parking spaces in some residential areas that would be removed to put in bike lanes," Public Works Director Jim Karch said Tuesday. "So before the city concurred with an IDOT design like that, the city wanted to seek additional public input beyond what IDOT was seeking."
While the state requests consent from the city, it is not necessary for the project to proceed.
"I think this is an important time for people to chime in with their thoughts," said Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy. "If you live anywhere on the Route 9 corridor, from (Interstate) 55 all the way across to the east side of town, you should be paying attention to this conversation because the state hired consultants to design this ... and this is our opportunity as a community to weigh in on that."
When IDOT held a public hearing April 2 on a multi-year plan, estimated to cost $6.35 million, to mill-and-fill the state route with asphalt, "there were bike lanes along Route 9 that were shown to emphasize the importance of having the multi-modal accommodations along a state route," said Karch.
IDOT has not provided a cost estimate for adding bicycle lanes or the number of affected properties, but the city has notified those they think might be impacted, said Karch.
Ward 4 Alderwoman Julie Emig said she and some of her constituents want IDOT to provide "a visual of what the proposal is because it's very hard to get your head wrapped around what it might look like and who will be affected and how it will play out."
Written comments can also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.